Earlier this month, HMRC launched a new taskforce of 1,250 staff to investigate fraudulent furlough claims and Eat Out to Help Out claims.
Investigators will be cross-referencing claims under the furlough scheme with other records, such as the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.
As part of HMRC’s investigations, a number of businesses have been found to have higher sales than before the pandemic began, even with claims that staff were furloughed. HMRC also found that some businesses had claimed to be closed during the pandemic, with staff being placed on furlough, only to find online reviews for takeaway orders.
HMRC have recovered £357,000 from one company, who had threatened to get rid of staff members unless they worked throughout the pandemic, whilst claiming for their wages through the furlough scheme.
Another business claimed for £2,500 for ‘off the book’ employees, whilst stating they were closed. The business had also made claims through the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, again whilst claiming the business was closed. HMRC is said to have recovered £13,800 from the business.
During the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, restaurants were able to offer customers half price food, with the government paying the remaining half. Investigators who had reportedly compared pre-pandemic tax returns and debit card data against Eat Out to Help Out claims, had found that many restaurants had made claims for far more than they had actually sold.
At STS (Europe) we can offer help and advice for your business to ensure you are meeting the requirements of the furlough scheme and not committing any acts of fraud. If you suspect you have falsely claimed under the furlough scheme or Eat Out to Help Out scheme, our experts can guide you through the process and make disclosures to HMRC on your behalf.
Get in touch with us via our contact page or give us a call on 01704 891676.